PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Friday Night Lights is poised to be a big day for the Florida Gators, and a big one for a 2013 recruit the Gators’ staff hopes to get on board.
Piscataway (N.J.) athlete Nadir Barnwell, No. 225 in the ESPN 300 and No. 23 at his position, will be making his first trip to Gainesville and is excited to finally see the program up close after only speaking with the staff on the phone for the most part.
“I want to see what the area is like, if it’s a comfortable fit, check out the coaches,” Barnwell said. “I want to build a relationship and see what it is like down there.”
Barnwell isn’t naming a favorite, but the Gators are a team he’s always liked.
“I watch them all the time. I play with them on NCAA,” he said, referring to the video game. “They’re a good team, good coaching staff and playing in The Swamp is amazing. They always got a good program. I’d be comfortable down there. I just want to see what it’s like.”
Among the other schools Barnwell is favoring include Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers and Tennessee. One program that would have been on that list until just recently is Penn State, which received a four-year bowl ban and massive scholarship reductions on Monday.
“It’s hard to say Penn State anymore,” Barnwell said. “I got to talk to all the coaches soon and see how they feel about the situation. I feel bad for the program, especially the kids that committed there.
“For (Jerry Sandusky) to be that selfish and ruin everything, he deserves what he gets.”
Barnwell says he knows a number of players on Penn State, which actively recruits New Jersey. He knows even more players at Rutgers, which is also located in Piscataway and is just 10 minutes from Barnwell.
“It’s home,” Barnwell said. “I got a good relationship with the coaches, good relationship with the whole recruiting class. I’d be comfortable there. It wouldn’t be a dramatic change.”
With Penn State falling, the Scarlet Knights are the only program within realistic driving distance that Barnwell mentioned as being at the top of his list. He said distance will play a role in his recruitment but not will decide his future.
“Of course it’ll play a factor. I’m going to be home sick,” he said. “But I wouldn’t mind going far because there’s a lot of good schools recruiting me. I’ll miss my family a lot. I’m a mama’s boy. I’m a daddy’s boy. I’m very close to my family.”